By Ryan Carson
“If you ever see me don’t assume I have an attitude on my face, it’s a New York thing,” says Jeremy Torres ’18, a political science major from New York. Torres doesn’t want his New York persona to scare away the naive freshman.
Being a political science major with a queer studies concentration is an advantage Torres believes he has when working to foster collaboration between different organizations at Denison. “Being a political science major, it’s not what everyone expects it to be as we learn about how the mechanics of how things work. It helps in a way,” Torres said.
Last spring, Torres was elected as Public Relations Director of Outlook. Outlook is an organization that represents LGBTQA+ individuals and issues on campus. Torres has helped to expand Outlook’s presence on campus this semester along with the club’s president, Brian Allen ‘17.
“I actually give credit to Brian Allen, our current president. We have intentionally gone out and targeted certain groups that we feel that we need this connection,” Torres said.
As head of Outlook’s PR, Torres works on the social media campaign that promotes awareness on campus when Outlook is hosting special events such as Coming Out Week. “I run all of their Twitter and Facebook accounts. Any event you see a poster, I created that.”
Coming Out Week has been one of the highlights of Torres’ brief career at Outlook. During the conclusion of Coming Out Week, Torres worked with Outlook to collaborate with the Black Student Union about issues involving people of color and LGBTQA+ individuals. “Coming Out Week, which I helped organize, we did a collaboration with BSU and it was well attended and highly praised. In the future, people want us to collaborate more, it when great,” said Torres.
Torres, along with the rest of Outlook, helps foster a culture of inclusion at Denison. Torres and members of the executive board stress the fact that Outlook meetings are a safe space. “So we all understand that coming out is a process. If the person is comfortable coming out there, in that space everything there is confidential,” Torres said.
In addition to the Outlook meetings, Torres and other Outlook Executive Board Members hold office hours weekly to support and foster sustained dialog. “We do hold office hours, Monday through Friday, and we have in total about 10-12 office hours a week,” he said.
Torres views Denison University as a college in transition. “As of right now I feel we are slowly progressing towards building bridges,” he said. “As in every other place you see parts where it’s not progressive.”
Those tough conversations that are happening all around campus between groups that may not necessarily agree on issues is a hallmark of Outlook’s new regime. These tough conversations are accredited to individual members and their willingness to discuss their varying experiences at Denison. “My first year it was difficult trying to find that niche,” he said. “I do think that Denison is mostly diverse as compared to other liberal arts universities.”
Photo Courtesy of Nelson Dow